PSE students should stop asking, “When am I going to use this?”

October 27, 2015

It is time for everyone to stop asking “when am I going to use this?” when thinking about the things one learns in a postsecondary classroom, writes a Chronicle of Higher Education contributor. She goes on to argue that the biggest problem with this question is that it makes usefulness the measure of all value. To this extent, she adds, “our obsession with utility — and our childish demands for it to reveal itself immediately lest we ‘waste’ a precious second of our time that could be better spent watching Netflix — reveals our ugliest selves.” The majority of the time, students ask this question when material bores them, not when they are genuinely wondering about what skills they may or may not need in the future. The solution, the author concludes, is to learn to be okay with not knowing how the things we learn today might benefit us tomorrow. Chronicle of Higher Education